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Thread: Youtube Hang Glider Pilot Cloud Flying

  1. #41
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airmutt View Post
    Ron the way I remembered it was if there was a military aircraft involved in a accident or incident there was a non-punitive safety investigation. This typically looked at procedures, manuals, material defects etc and recommended changes to prevent future occurrences. Then there was an Accident Investigation Board which determined cause and fault. Best case scenario the crew is cleared of fault and returned to flight status. Worst case one lost their wings which is essentially a career killer. If the cause of the event was found to be due to misconduct or gross negligence then a court martial could be recommended. If I recall correctly an investigation to determine that there is sufficient finding of facts to proceed to a CM was required before a court could be convened as prescribed the UCMJ.
    Thanks, Dave. I was a satellite driver in the Air Force, we usually just said "Aw, crap," did a bit of analysis of the pre-failure telemetry, and went on to the next bird.

    Ron "Looks good to TAG" Wanttaja

  2. #42
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    There was a big fiasco when the NRO was found to be stockpiling cash in their basement. It was their insurance policy against a launch (or other) catastrophic failure and they had to call up Martin and get another bird quick. When your agency doesn't exist (when I started in the business you couldn't even say NRO in a public forum), you can't go out quickly and get contingency funds or buy insurance from Lloyds. (This leads to another amusing story about one of the commercial satellite companies that had two successive launch failures but were insured, making more money NOT getting the satellites into orbit than if they'd succeed).

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    There was a big fiasco when the NRO was found to be stockpiling cash in their basement. It was their insurance policy against a launch (or other) catastrophic failure and they had to call up Martin and get another bird quick. When your agency doesn't exist (when I started in the business you couldn't even say NRO in a public forum), you can't go out quickly and get contingency funds or buy insurance from Lloyds.
    The US Government always self-insures its launches, but it's sure easier to go to Mutual of Dulles or Lloyds of Chantilly than to submit to the entire acquisition circus again.

    A while back we had a launch party for a satellite program I was on. Practically the whole team, plus key Government folks, were there to watch live video of the launch. I was there, with a horrific cold, feeling like death microwaved. Everybody else was excited and jabbering, and I was slumped in the corner looking like Jabba the Hut with the clap.

    My sinuses were stuffed, my nose was running, my head was pounding. I had been lead engineer...but my job wasn't over yet. I was going to have to come in at 4 AM the next day, as I was Test Conductor for the first acquisition and initialization of the new satellite.

    I was not looking forward to that.

    I was actually half-hoping that the launch WOULD fail, that the satellite would end up in the drink, and I'd be able to take a couple days off as sick leave. We had additional satellites in the pipeline, and it'd been easy to restart production to replace a missing bird. I'd be able to sack in, dose up, and try to get over the bug.

    No such luck...or rather, good luck and the launch was flawless. Came in at 4 AM for first acquisition. Funny how Sudafed and adrenaline will perk you up.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    (This leads to another amusing story about one of the commercial satellite companies that had two successive launch failures but were insured, making more money NOT getting the satellites into orbit than if they'd succeed).
    A civilian satellite program I worked in the '90s was working to a hard deadline, to get a satellite into orbit to demonstrate technology prior to a particular international conference. This was scheduled for a launch on Pegasus, the rocket carried by an L-1011 and launched at ~40,000 feet.

    Unfortunately, Pegasus suffered a failure on an earlier launch and our launch got delayed until past the date of the conference. We'd lost the primary reason for the launch.

    But when the time finally came, the satellite solar arrays didn't deploy. There had been some rare rains in the Mojave, and apparently, water got into the launch fairing and froze, locking the arrays in the stowed position.

    The company instantly filed for the insurance, and they had their money back again.

    However....about 30 days after launch, the solar arrays opened and the satellite activated. Best guess is that the ice had sublimated away. The insurance company now owned the bird, though, and instructed the operators to shut it down. We did learn that our payload *did* activate normally, but there never was any testing or demonstration performed.

    Ron Wanttaja

  4. #44
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    I'm familiar with Pegasus. There's one in the Udvar-Hazy center with the name "Maggie" on it named after the daughter of Orbital's founder David Thompson. I went down on a tour with a bunch of Smithsonian docents to see various things in the Phoenix/Tuscon area (Davis Monthan, the Titan and PIMA museums) which included one of Orbital's facilities. Catherine Thompson was along on the trip. We got a great tour of the Orbital facility after Catherine modestly says "My husband works for Orbital."

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    I'm familiar with Pegasus. There's one in the Udvar-Hazy center with the name "Maggie" on it named after the daughter of Orbital's founder David Thompson. I went down on a tour with a bunch of Smithsonian docents to see various things in the Phoenix/Tuscon area (Davis Monthan, the Titan and PIMA museums) which included one of Orbital's facilities. Catherine Thompson was along on the trip. We got a great tour of the Orbital facility after Catherine modestly says "My husband works for Orbital."
    Orbital was the spacecraft integrator on the civilian program I mentioned, and we integrated our Boeing payload with their bus at the facility north of Dulles. I always was impressed with Orbital...less bureaucratic, younger engineers, more willing to take risks.

    Strangely enough, on THAT program, I never saw a Pegasus rocket myself. But about five years earlier, we'd been investigating using a Pegasus for a Government program I was on, and me and a fellow engineer (eventually we were partners in a Stinson) traveled to Edwards to visit the Pegasus folks there. Got a view of a vehicle getting ready to have the payload(s) integrated....

    Top picture shows the overall vehicle, bottom picture shows Stage 3 and the payload attachment plate. The fairing covers Stage 3 as well as the payloads. Payloads on a Pegasus are integrated horizontally, rather than vertically like most US rockets. Russians tend to do horizontal integration, too.

    And, of course, Scaled Composites built the wing.

    Ron Wanttaja
    Last edited by rwanttaja; 01-18-2020 at 03:18 PM.

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